Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Harper's "Accountability" Contradiction

The Harper Conservatives have always had a strange notion of what constitutes "accountability".  Perhaps more bizarre, despite being the most restrictive, message controlling government we've seen, Conservatives still proudly tout their accountability to anyone who'll listen.   The disconnect seems to surround the belief that the "media"should play no role in our political arena, despite the irrefutable fact that- like it or not- the medium remains a conduit between government and public.

Harper blew it yesterday, because at the heart these Conservatives have a deep paranoia about the media, to the point they actually convince themselves a  one way, scripted, lame speech will suffice to put out a burning maelstrom that surrounds.  To the point of delusional, there is resistance to the obvious, namely a PUBLIC review of the Senate scandal.  Emboldened by past "ride out the clock" strategies when confronted with controversy, this mentality lead to the farcical staged event yesterday, that ultimately devolved into a red faced, SILENT, Prime Minister looking downright foolish as reporters barked out questions.

This is a Conservative government that cages up the media during election campaigns, spends millions to train public servant on the art of speaking publicly without saying anything and generally does everything in their power to avoid answering any questions, on any topic.   This government isn't accountable, it's obstructionist and secretive, every potentially controversial detail, on any topic, must be pried from their hands, never relenting or forthcoming.  Despite this nature, the Conservatives have been quite successful manipulating the message, stonewalling until attention spans wane, but within it clearly betraying this supposed accountability forever touted.  Again, Conservatives have deluded themselves, they aren't accountable at all, anyone that dare question their reign is throw under the bus, personally attacked, they have created an air of intimidation the likes of which Ottawa has never seen.

Today reporters get their rare opportunity to ask dear leader two questions about the biggest scandal to hit Harper's government.  It's a forced collision, Harper can't avoid answering questions forever, despite a deliberate attempt to do just that.   There was something inherently pathetic about yesterday, the Harper "speech", then followed by a no show in QP, wherein his chief underlining repeated the same line over and over, no matter the content of any question coming.  The anti-thesis of accountability, Harper seemingly needs to be taken kicking and screaming to answer the most basic of questions.

This regime rode into town under the accountability banner.  They passed some initial legislation, and every since then have conducted themselves in a way that contradicts any tenet of true accountability.  Propaganda, paranoia, avoidance, aversion, denial, withholding, you name it, it's there for all to see.   Time for Conservatives to confront the blue sky reality that pierces their delusional veneer, you're not accountable, you never have been, in fact you're an obstacle to the very idea.  The Duffy affair simply crystallizes to the Canadian public what the rest of us who follow intently already know.  FRAUD.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Liberals: Cash, Polls, Attacks

A bit of a grab bag post on all things Liberal.  With the usual "moment in time" caveat understood, these are still encouraging times for the Liberals.  

The polling shows more a surge than a "bounce", even more pronounced when interpreting the regionals.   The Liberals lead in Quebec, Atlantic Canada, Ontario, and noticeably upticking in British Columbia, a regional coalition that provides a clear path to power.  What is particularly noteworthy, Trudeau is VERY well known in Quebec, a fact which makes the Liberal resurgence all the more instructive.

Apparently the Conservative attacks ads are focused heavily on Ontario and Atlantic Canada.  The latest from Ipsos Reid brings a curious result:
Interestingly, among those who have seen the ads on television, 41 per cent said they intended to vote for the Liberals as compared to 32 per cent for the Conservatives and 21 per cent for the NDP. 
Support numbers were much closer among those who have not seen the ads, with the Liberals and Conservatives split at 31 per cent and New Democrats at 27 per cent 
Wright says the numbers indicate the ads may have actually helped the Liberals by having a handful of New Democrats “switch their soft support from the NDP to soft support for Justin Trudeau.”
It is true, that with attack ads, one is wise to take the long view which accessing true damage.  That said, when you actually see a divergence that suggests a complete backfire- more support for the Liberals amongst those that have viewed the ad- that needs to be incorporated as to ultimate effectiveness.  I said from the outset, I questioned the wisdom of showing your opponent in an attractive light, no matter the message.  Normally, attack ads show the target in darkened tones, odd postures, unflattering facial expressions, not buff and attractive, wherein some quietly say to themselves "wow, great hair", "nice abs".  If these ads aren't hitting their mark, colour me not surprised.  If these ads are actually helping the Liberals, as Ipsos shows empirically, what a colossal failure.

Stepping off from the ad itself, the implications for the Liberals.  Lost in the bizarre fascination with Trudeau's casual attire, the fact Liberals have raised an impressive 1 million since he took office.  As well, some vindication of the "supporter" category, with six thousand new donors.  Critics argued that this new category would be the ruin of political participation, representing little commitment, to which I say, there is nothing more concrete than CASH.   These numbers suggest the hope we could cement the relationship, after an initial "foot in the door" approach,  is bearing fruit.  I'm not sure why anyone believed Trudeau's supporters would just disappear after the leadership, considering they SUPPORT him.

I note these fundraising numbers only suggest Liberals are back in the game, relative to the Conservatives.  However, if that is the lament, Liberals will take it every time, as many of us remember being outpaced four or five times, for years.  If Liberals can achieve anything close to a fundraising saw off under Trudeau, it will represent a fundamental change in the dynamics of federal politics.  The early signs are quite encouraging...

Obviously, we are in the "honeymoon" period of Trudeau's leadership.  However, there are unique factors at play when it comes to Justin.  Trudeau IS a known quantity, at least on a personal level.  As well, in Quebec, his federalist views are very well incorporated, which makes the "surge" in that province all the more meaningful.  Truth be told, the NDP have been completely derailed by Trudeau.  My pre-leadership win contention that Mulcair never becomes Prime Minister with a Trudeau led Liberal Party looks less far fetched as we move forward.  Either we see vote splitting that brings another Harper mandate- Liberals eroding NDP support- or we see the Liberals win outright, as Trudeau most easily claims the "change" mantle, should we reach that phase of a regime.

A snapshot in time, for certain, but a relatively pretty picture, no doubt.